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Statement Regarding Zaandam

(March 28, 8 pm PT/11 pm ET): We are aware of reported permission for both Zaandam and Rotterdam to transit the Panama Canal in the near future. We greatly appreciate this consideration in the humanitarian interest of our guests and crew. This remains a dynamic situation, and we continue to work with the Panamanian authorities to finalize details.

(March 27, 9:45 a.m PT/12:45 p.m ET): Zaandam is currently off the coast of Panama and rendezvoused with sister ship Rotterdam at 7:30 p.m. local time yesterday, March 26. We received approval from Panamanian authorities to conduct ship-to-ship operations at anchor between the two vessels. Medical supplies and additional medical staff were transferred to Zaandam.

Today we announced a plan to transfer groups of healthy Zaandam guests to Rotterdam, with strict protocols for this process developed in conjunction with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Only those who have not been ill will be moved, and health screenings will be conducted before transferring. Once aboard Rotterdam, all guests will continue to remain in their staterooms until disembarkation. Any guests who are currently ill, or in isolation as a close contact, and all crew will remain on Zaandam.

While the onward plan for both ships is still being finalized, we continue to work with the Panamanian authorities on approval to transit the Panama Canal for sailing to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Yesterday a number of patients with respiratory symptoms were tested for COVID-19 and two individuals tested positive. Out of an abundance of caution, on March 22 when Zaandam first saw a number of guests reporting to the medical center with influenza-like illness symptoms, we took immediate protective measures, including asking all guests to self-isolate in their staterooms and implementing all other appropriate precautions that have been developed in coordination with the CDC. All guests and crew received face masks yesterday and were provided with instructions on when and how to wear them.

Currently, 53 guests (4%) and 85 crew (14%) have reported to Zaandam’s medical center with influenza-like illness symptoms. There are 1,243 guests and 586 crew on board. On Zaandam there are four doctors and four nurses. On Rotterdam there are two doctors and four nurses.

Holland America Line can confirm that four older guests have passed away on Zaandam. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and we are doing everything we can to support them during this difficult time.

Complimentary telephone counseling services from our care partner, Empathia, have been made available to guests and crew if they would like extra support during this time. For those with family members on board, they can call the following numbers for information: 877-425-2231 or 206-626-7398.

Zaandam was sailing a South America cruise that departed Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 7 and was originally scheduled to end at San Antonio, Chile, on March 21. Due to global health concerns, Holland America Line made the decision to suspend its global cruise operations for 30 days and end its current cruises in progress as quickly as possible so guests could return home. No one has been off the ship since March 14 in Punta Arenas, Chile.

(March 24, 11:20am PT/2:20pm ET): As all ports along Zaandam’s route are closed to cruise ships, Holland America Line has deployed Rotterdam to rendezvous with Zaandam and provide extra supplies, staff, COVID-19 test kits and other support as needed. Carrying 611 crew and no guests, Rotterdam departed Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, at 3 p.m. local time on March 22 and the current schedule is for the two ships to meet by the evening of March 26 off the coast of Panama.

Our intention is to proceed to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for arrival on March 30, however plans are still being finalized. Alternative options also are being developed. No one has been off the ship since March 14 in Punta Arenas, Chile.

Complimentary telephone counseling services from our care partner, Empathia, have been made available to guests and crew if they would like extra support during this time. For those with family members on board, they can call the following numbers for information: 1-877-425-2231 or 1-206-626-7398.

(March 22, 2 p.m PT/5 p.m ET): This morning aboard Zaandam, 13 guests and 29 crew reported to the ship’s medical center with influenza-like symptoms. Out of an abundance of caution, we have now asked all guests to remain in their staterooms until we have more information. There are 1,243 guests and 586 crew on board.

Zaandam is following the response protocols that have been developed in coordination with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Since it is flu season, and COVID-19 testing is not available on board, it is difficult to determine the cause of these elevated cases at this time.

The safety and well-being of our guests and crew is one of our highest priorities. The ship has activated these precautionary measures out of an abundance of caution:

• As is our standard practice, all ill persons have been isolated and their close contacts placed in quarantine.

• Guests have been asked to remain in their staterooms and monitor their health. If they become symptomatic, they are asked to call the medical center for an evaluation and care from the ship’s medical professionals (at no charge).

• Effective today, meal service will be provided by room service until further notice. All public areas are closed.

• The entire ship is operating at maximum sanitation levels, including rigorous cleaning and disinfecting of public and crew areas.

• Crew who are not required for the safe operation of the ship are being quarantined. Those that are needed to maintain the ship’s operation are being asked to self-isolate when not performing essential functions, practice social distancing, self-monitor and report any illness to the Medical Center.

• Both internet and guest stateroom telephone services remain complimentary so that guests may stay in touch with their families.

Zaandam was sailing a South America voyage that departed Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 7 and was originally scheduled to end in San Antonio, Chile, on March 21. However, due to global health concerns, Holland America Line made the decision to suspend its global cruise operations for 30 days and end its current cruises in progress as quickly as possible and return guests home. Despite previous confirmations that guests could disembark in Punta Arenas, Chile, for flights, we were not permitted to do so. No one has been off the ship since March 14 in Punta Arenas.

Zaandam then sailed to Valparaiso, Chile, where it remained at anchor March 20-21 while taking on provisions and fuel, including regular medications for those that needed them. Zaandam departed Valparaiso on March 21 and is currently sailing north. Our intention is to proceed to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for arrival on March 30, however we are still working on securing a reservation to transit the Panama Canal. Alternative options are also being developed.

For those with family members on board, they can call the following numbers for information: 1-877-425-2231 and 1-206-626-7398.

12 Comments
  • David Parks

    I appreciate post the statement and making counseling services available however it would be more helpful if there were a way to find out the specific status of our family members who are on the Zaandam. Please provide a way to get specific information. Thank you.

  • Mark Christie

    You are doing everything possible in such trying times. You are all in our thoughts and prayers.

  • Martin

    Dear Sirs, I join my prayers for the passengers of your ship and I regret the lives that were lost, but although it sounds harsh, the cruise companies have been really very little responsible in continuing with their activities knowing since January that we were facing a virus extremely Contagious and with a WHO alert of the latent danger of a pandemic, like the one we are already suffering. Hopefully, this will serve as a lesson and understand that more valuable than money is the health and life of human beings.

  • Robin Michel

    As a guest in an inside cabin on the Zaandam could I record my thinks to everyone involved in trying to resolve this ships problems.
    We still seem healthy thanks to their tireless work.

  • Don

    We have sailed on Zaandam and had planned an upcoming trip on Rotterdam. We appreciate knowing that Holland America is doing all they can to have the Rotterdam support Zaandam, it’s passengers and staff during this pandemic. Thank you to all..

  • Tammy Reeter

    Why aren’t you going to Chile? These passengers on the ship have no place to stay or family in Ft Lauderdale.

  • Janice Cooper

    HI
    Please tell the passengers on board to leave all personal toiletries toothpaste, toothbrushes makeup ect out of the bathroom toilet rooms. Closes the lid of the toilet before flushing and keep the door shut between bedroom and bathroom. Coronavirus virus has been found in feces. (Also the urine of covid-19 infected laboratory aminals).
    It is worth a try a building needed to be evacuated during the Sars outbreak. They are studying viruses in the plumbing systems. Trouble is the passengers will no longer be on the ship by the time a study confirms weather or no the virus can be spread in such a manner.

  • Precious Wureh

    Praying for all aboard these cruise ships. I would hate to be in your shoes. Honestly my heart goes out.

    To the passengers, Holland America is trying as hard as possible to get you guys docked. but its crazy everywhere in this world right now because of Corona virus. We are in lockdown and cannot get out…all freedom have been taken away from us due to this virus. Airlines are barely flying, stores are clised except for essential stores. It’s unbelievable but we know it is for our safety. If people can stay home n stop violating the laws put in place, that will help take the numbers down.

    Countrys are turning away cruise ships, what are the cruise lines supposed to do? All the cruise industry is asking for is to be able to dock and get you guys home and also get medical help for the sick passengers.

    So I’m begging these ports to please let the ships dock. There are humans on them that need to get home and also needing medical attention. Its like you all are leaving these passengers to suffer. Then everybody will blame Holland. Which is wrong.

    So please let the ships dock. Its called humanitarianism.

    Thank you.

  • Floridiana

    I wish the crew and passengers of the Zaandam and the Rotterdam all the best. All of you are in my prayers. May you soon be able to return to a US port. A special greeting to Captain Albert whose blog we follow. He always gives great insight into life on a ship.

    We were boarding our ship in Buenos Aires at the same time as the Zaandam was boarding her passengers. The novel corona virus had not yet taken hold in Argentina. Our ship sailed north toward Rio and we are thankful that Rio allowed everyone to disembark.

  • Nancy Porter

    Thanks for the overview of current happenings. It seems Holland America is handling the COVID19 very carefully and safely.
    I was looking for the name of the ship I traveled on in December 5-10, 2016 through the Panama Canal.

  • David Williams

    Why are you blocking or not posting remarks perhaps critical of HAL and the handling of COVID-19. I am a four-star Mariner (but not posting under my correct name) and am very disappointed that HAL is being critical of the US response to the Zaandam issue while praising Panama for simply allowing canal transit.

    Carnival Corp is a Panamanian corporation, pays virtually no US taxes and HAL ships are flagged in the Netherlands. Where is the response of Panama and the Netherlands?? Why not dock in Panama, Aruba, Bonaire or Sint Maarten?

    Why transit the canal instead of docking in Seattle where HAL has its US headquarters? Since HAL wants to dock in Florida, how is HAL/Carnival Corp supporting medical treatment for COVID-19 in Florida? How much has HAL/Carnival Corp spent thus far in 2020 to provide medical supplies, pay medical personnel and provide infrastructure (such as field hospitals) to Florida in particular and the US in general?

    Post this if you have the courage, HAL’s response would be welcome and appreciated. I plan to cruise again once this crisis has passed. However, I have heard reports of an excellent response to this crisis in particular by Silversea (which I have never sailed). I am awaiting this posting and HAL’s response before I decide whether to sail HAL or other Carnival Corp owned cruise lines in the future.

  • Micah Keto

    Our thoughts and prayers to Captain, all crew and passengers.

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